Sunday, November 1, 2020

Stiger soldiers on with music in spite of hardships

Popularly known in Ngamiland as Stiger, the pioneer recording artist of western Botswana is now on his fifth recording, titled ‘Khoi khoi’.
The concept relates to the life of the Khoisan who have a sensitivity to the environment and the animals that sustain their livelihood.

“This sort of person is loved by the people and does not deplete the animals that also sustain him. Some people believed that I may have been talking politics related to the CKGR case but that not my original intention,” he said. “I was simply talking about the lifestyle and culture of the San, who are not wasteful with wildlife like the people who go about shooting animals with guns.”

For lack of state of the art recording facilities in the region, Stiger was compelled to do most of the composition of his work in Maun. Then followed the arduous task of having to take his music for the long 1500 kilometre journey to the studios of Johannesburg where Stiger and Sister, otherwise known as Mayoress Molefi Machangaan, found session musicians to accompany them whilst they did the vocals on all ten tracks.

On the first day, the brother and sister duet conducted the instrumentals and then did the vocal tracks on the second day, leaving the studio technicians to do the mixing and mastering later.
On the whole, production of the album/CD took six days of travel by bus from Maun to Francistown, and overnight train trip to Gaborone and half a day on combis to Gauteng.

“I believe that there is a difference in the quality of product and touch of the music from my previous recordings. It was difficult to find studios where we could get that kind of quality in Maun and Francistown and we did not know enough about facilities in Gaborone.

“I also discovered as I was doing my own research that I felt most comfortable when I was doing Mbaqanga. I had attempted some jazz, rhumba and other forms of danceable music before. Even my fans inform me that they wanted me to stick to the mbaqanga feel on the song I called ‘Khubama’.
We formerly cooperated with a gentleman called Richard Selume but this time we attempted to make our own effort.

“But there are the difficulties of packaging the music when one is as far out as Maun. Most of the people still prefer cassettes but CD\s are beginning to make an impact. However it is very difficult to get the CD covers. It is also more difficult to do the packaging, distribution and performances to promote the CD.
“This makes it very difficult to make a living out of performances and recording.”

Stiger points out that the by-laws in Maun are very strict so that uncontrolled noise should not be allowed to disturb tourists.

“But people had previously been accustomed to entertainment going beyond 12 o’clock midnight. Lately there has been a criminal element of youngsters from surrounding villages and the neighbouring countries which has contributed to antagonising the police, councillors and traditional leaders.

“Maun also does not have promoters like in other parts of the country. The shows are promoted from Goborone and they bring packages that exclude the local artists. That also means that the culture of the local villages is not reflected in the place of entertainment in and around Maun.”

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